The Balkan Floods Aftermath: Have the Institutions Done Their Job? No, They Should Learn From This for the Future

Floods in Brcko, Bosnia

Photo: Floods in Brcko, Bosnia;

It has been over a month since the catastrophic floods that hit Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia.

The water has receded but it left behind many problems, some of them classic for big floods – such as destroyed houses and farms, risks of sewer contamination, lack of drinking water; and some of them specific to the region – such as fields full of landmines still left from the Yugoslav civil war where the water has potentially moved the mines or removed warning signs thereby putting people at mine danger[1]. Some of the problems, however, seem to be purely institutional.

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Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia hit by the worst floods in 120 years – millions displaced, billions in damages

Floods in Orasje, Bosnia

Photo: The Guardian

Zagreb, Croatia – Tuesday, May 20, 2014: Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Serbia, as well as parts of Croatia, have been hit by the worst floods in 120 years after more than 3 months’ worth of rain fell on the region in just a few days last week. This is the worst weather catastrophe to hit the region in over a century. The numbers are still changing hourly, but as of now, over a million people have been displaced, forced to flee their homes with little or no belongings, grasping to save their bare lives, and their children. On top of that, many of these people are farmers who live off of the land and have just lost their entire livelihoods in just a few days.

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